Ivy Tech Kokomo Region marks National Apprenticeship Week
KOKOMO, Ind. — Apprenticeships are a key component of Ivy Tech Community College’s mission to serve as Indiana’s engine of workforce development, a fact being recognized during the second annual celebration of National Apprenticeship Week.
“Apprenticeship is an ‘earn and learn’ training model that combines work-based learning with classroom instruction to meet the needs of employers for skilled employees – and Ivy Tech has been an important apprenticeship partner for more than 40 years,” said Stephen Waddel, apprenticeship coordinator for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region.
“Through our apprenticeship programs with area employers, we are part of the effort to reskill and upskill their employees to develop a skilled labor force in the Kokomo Region that results in an improved quality of life through better-paying jobs,” he continued. “That’s what is being celebrated in National Apprenticeship Week 2016.”
Apprenticeship programs are developed when an employer wants to provide the training required for existing employees to develop a skill set the employer needs. The programs generally involve a four-year commitment for a total of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training with journeymen experienced in the trade along with classroom instruction developed and provided by Ivy Tech to meet the employer’s needs, Waddel said.
The programs represent a real investment in the employee. Companies pay their wages as they go through the on-the-job training as well as the cost of schooling and sometimes the cost of tools and uniforms. At the end, they have employees trained and certified in needed skilled trades and the employees have locally and often nationally recognized credentials that can advance their careers.
In the Kokomo Region, employers who work with Ivy Tech on apprenticeship programs have included A Raymond Tinnerman, Braun Corporation, Essroc Corporation, Carter Fuel Systems, FCA North America, Haynes International, Matthew Warren, Milbank Manufacturing, Owens Corning, Paper Works Industries, Plymouth Tube, Small Parts Inc., Steel Parts, Tyson Foods, and the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).
Apprenticeships can be offered in skilled trades ranging from bricklayers to electricians, carpenters to plumbers and pipefitters, painters to sheet metal workers and more non-traditional areas like advanced manufacturing and healthcare.
According to Waddel, companies that offer apprenticeship programs can diversify their workforce, improve productivity and profitability, standardize training, reduce turnover, receive tax credits, and more.
ApprenticeshipUSA, under the United States Department of Labor, is sponsor of National Apprenticeship Week. The week is designed as an opportunity for the apprenticeship community to tell the story of apprenticeships and to educate businesses and leaders about the importance of apprenticeship programs that can lead to great jobs that also help positively impact the U.S. economy.
According to ApprenticeshipUSA, the United States currently has about 375,000 apprentices working with more than 150,000 employers – but many more are needed to meet the many jobs that will open up as Baby Boomers retire and international competition ramps up. Germany, for instance, has about 1.8 million apprentices working with 500,000 employers, ApprenticeshipUSA said. Last year, President Barack Obama established a goal of doubling the number of registered apprenticeship programs in the United States over the next five years.
The investments pay off, according to the organization. Today, the average starting wage for an apprenticeship graduate is more than $50,000, and apprentices will earn an average of $300,000 more over their lifetimes than their non-apprentice peers. And, according to the Department of Labor, every dollar taxpayers invest in apprenticeship programs sees $27 in returns.
Waddel is a card-carrying journeyman electrician who received his skilled trades apprenticeship academic training through Ivy Tech and brings that experience to his job as apprenticeship coordinator. He notes that in addition to industry credentials, people who successful complete apprenticeships also earn technical certificates and associate degrees from Ivy Tech.
SOURCE: News release from Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region